Find Legal expertise in United Republic of Tanzania
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Tanzania’s legal system is based on English Common Law, with Islamic Sharia law existent in Zanzibar. There is constitutional provision for an independent judiciary. The Court of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania is the country’s highest court and the only one shared by both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Mainland Tanzania has a High Court, followed by magistrates’ courts and primary courts, whereas in Zanzibar subsidiaries of their High Court are kadhis (Islamic) courts and the magistrates’ courts. Given the recent shift to a free market system, Tanzanian law has been met with new challenges in areas such as intellectual property, business and commercial law. It was decided that a new section of the High Court, in which the legal practitioners were specialists in commercial law, should be created to deal with this new dimension.
The Advocates Act stipulates that any person may apply to the Chief Justice to become an advocate if they have a law degree from a recognised university in Tanzania; have been in continuous practice in Kenya, Uganda or Zanzibar for the previous five years; if they are a legal practitioner authorised to work in any Commonwealth country or if they are a solicitor with either the Scottish, English or Irish (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) Supreme Courts or a Writer to the Signet. Practicing advocates in Tanzania are automatically members of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) and on the ‘Roll of Advocates’. The TLS listed over 1100 members in 2009. Lawyers can act as solicitors or barristers. Following an AGM in 2008, membership of the Tanganyika Law Society’s Continuing Legal Education Programme (CLE) is now mandatory for legal practitioners in the country. The CLE consists of lectures and seminars run by its members around the country.
The TLE is the professional body in mainland Tanzania and the Zanzibar Law Society in Zanzibar; both are members of the East Africa Law Society. In order to ensure consistency of legal practice around the country the TLS has appointed practicing advocates to become ‘chapters’ of the TLS, based around the country.
With the help of international aid, the government of the United Republic of Tanzania runs several programmes designed to improve legal practice, accessibility to legal services and enhancement of the business environment. These are: the Legal Sector Reform Program (LSRP), Business Environment Strengthening for Tanzania (BEST) and BEST AC, a subsection of BEST which supports private sector advocacy.
There are many law firms, most of them in Dar es Salaam. Well established firms practicing in commercial law include Mkono & Co, FK Law Chambers and Rex Attorneys, all based in Dar es Salaam.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
Legal rights index
Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes
Efficiency of legal framework in challenging regulations
Property rights (including financial assets)
Intellectual property protection